Riders' Reps on Local Committees
A number of Tasmanian Councils operate local traffic committees. These committees are the Councils’ solution to dealing with the operational, on the ground issues which are regularly brought to Council by local residents (pot holes, dangerous corners, noise...). They also tend to use them as a convenient consultative channel.
Recently Bicycle Tasmania (BT) learnt of some new bikelanes which were being considered for Carlton St, Lenah Valley, Hobart. We wondered if we had any local members who would like to know more about it or who might like to get involved in the local traffic committee as more eyes and ears for BT. On emailing the local BT members, we discovered that several members were interested, and in fact one of our members was already regularly attending the Lenah Valley Traffic Committee meetings. What a bonus!
Interestingly, none of them knew of the Carlton St plans, which illustrates how initiatives can slip by without people noticing. It turns out this project was developed and even went to a full Council meeting in November 2012!
Bicycle Tasmania would like to hear from any members and supporters who are already active in their local traffic committees or who think this might be for them. We may be able to help you to become more informed about current agreed (and proposed plans) for bike networks, best practice design for bikelanes, parking issues, pinchpoints, developing solutions that meet the needs of both pedestrians and riders, etc. It's all fascinating stuff, and we need more voices on the ground to both listen and to speak up for cyclists.
We are on the way to learning which other Councils have them operating - do tell us if you know.
To give you an idea of how these committees can work, here is John Daniels’ report on what has been happening lately in the Lenah Valley committee discussions.
“The committee meets approximately every six months, with a focus on traffic flow issues and speeding, pothole issues (generally raised by me), and pedestrian and wildlife safety. Meetings are initiated by Council following consideration of various proposals that are generally costed, with consultations with DIER if necessary.
A ‘current’ agenda proposal is the installation of a pedestrian refuge island near the RSL Club and Athleen Avenue to facilitate pedestrian crossing to and from the park and to allow for easier access into Lenah Valley Rd for traffic at peak hour ‘congestion’. Recently I proposed a widening of footpath and pedestrian refuge to make for a safer pedestrian crossing of Girrabong Road at the intersection with Lenah Valley Rd.
Past issues raised have included a 50 km speed limit beyond Girrabong Rd for the safety of wildlife – there are many wallabies around Ancanthe Park and the Brushy Creek-Lenah Valley Rd intersection. Street lighting on Creek Road was upgraded a few years ago, following my raising the issue of the lack of visibility in my pre-dawn cycle to work in winter.
It is true the wheels of the Lenah Valley Traffic Committee grind slowly! Funding for proposals waits for allocation, DIER may object, Council consults with stake holders etc. There seems to be a basic residential membership of some eight members, including my wife and me, plus two Council officers and the sometime attendance of two aldermen.
I have raised a query about a cycle lane for Augusta Road in the past but was told there were no plans for such in the near future. My query about a bike lane proposal in Carlton St, possible as it is a wide boulevard, is the steep exit from Carlton St into Lenah Valley Rd that would be difficult for cyclists from a stationary position. It was at that intersection that I was hit by a vehicle exiting Carlton St as I was passing on my bike on Augusta Rd about fourteen years ago (hit in the rear wheel, fortunately with little damage)”.